Thousands Mark International Women’s Day With March In New York City

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Thousands of people marched through New York City Sunday to mark International Women’s Day.

Men and women from around the world convened at the United Nations headquarters before marching down to Times Square, joining voices globally demanding gender equity.

“Today, you are marching in the footsteps of generations of feminists,” said New York City’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, noting that International Women’s Day commemorates the day in 1908 when thousands of women marched through the city demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

“This march started more than a century ago, but we still have a long way to go before we get to equality,” McCray added.

U.N. officials said much has been achieved under the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, signed by 189 governments in 1995 as a pledge for realizing women’s rights.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, however, said the gains have been too slow and uneven.

“We need global action, action!,” Ban Ki-moon said.

Demonstrators agreed.

“I think that we haven’t focused hard enough on it and I think now it’s 20 years later, people are like wow, is it 20 years ago? And yes, I mean what have we done? Not enough,” said one rallier.

Now there is a new pledge to bring equality by the year 2030 in an action plan called Planet 50-50, WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported.

“We’re hopeful and that’s why we’re here, because we’re hopeful,” said one marcher.

The secretary general said the most urgent issue is rape being used as a war weapon, from Nigeria and Somalia to Iraq and Syria.

Noting marks of progress for women in New York City by her husband, Mayor Bill de Blasio, McCray pointed to universal pre-kindergarten and paid sick leave, among other causes.

Stephanie, from Canada, told 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern Sunday’s march boiled down to one thing: “To celebrate women and to draw recognition to the need for greater equality for women.”

The march coincides with a series of international meetings on women’s issues, which will continue in New York City over the next couple of weeks.

In November, New York joined the U.N.’s Safe Global Cities Initiative, which works to combat sexual harassment and sexual violence in public places.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More From CBS New York

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
Get Our Morning Briefs

Watch & Listen LIVE